Middle school was a weird time for everyone, but the one constant comfort I remember during those years was books. I was blessed to have smart, loving English teachers who let me read whatever I wanted (within reason) along with our assigned reading.
I learned to love every book I read during those years, but a few stick out in my memory now that I’m a sophomore in college. So, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books from middle school that definitely deserve a reread now that we’re a little older.
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
Do you remember sobbing over this assigned reading book? Some people disliked it at first, because it was too “girly,” but when they powered through to the end, they cried with you (even if they didn’t admit it). The Pictures of Hollis Woods, written by Patricia Reilly Giff, will forever be implanted in my memory, and I think we all have a bit of Hollis in us. If you read this book, you’ll never forget how important it is to find just the right blue pencil to capture and draw just the right picture. There are many novels about orphans, but none is written as beautifully done as this one. With the spirit of a nomad and a wicked imagination, Hollis is the bird who can never stay in one place until she finds the nest she was born in. There’s a movie adaptation, but I’m not so sure that it captures the elegance of the book quite as I imagined it.
The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are orphans who have a long-lost connection to the famous Brothers Grimm. They eventually find their thought-to-be-dead grandmother, and she winds up being a wickedly awesome crime fighting nana. This series is super fun, and for those of you who like the show Once Upon A Time, then know that this book was the first to put all the fairytale creatures in one little town.
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Because I have a special place in my heart for anything Kate DiCamillo writes, I had to include The Tiger Rising. DiCamillo epitomizes a wordsmith; honestly, I don’t know any other writer like her. This short but perfectly crafted novel features a young boy, Rob, who gets picked on at school by bullies and at home by his dad. He finds solace when he meets a caged tiger in the woods and a beautiful girl named Sistine. In a nutshell, it’s a Bildungsroman novel, but it reaches deeper than that. You just have to read it to feel DiCamillo’s magic.